Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Goran Simić: A Scene After the War

    I'd never been aware how beautiful my house is
                  until I saw it burning,
my schoolmate told me, who had twenty pieces of shrapnel
     that remained deep under his skin after the war.
        He wrote me how at the airport he enjoyed
having upset the customs officials who couldn't understand
  why the checkpoint metal detector howled for no reason.
            I had never been aware I was a nation
               until they said they'd kill me,
                      my friend told me,
               who'd escaped from a prison camp
             only to be caught and raped by Gypsies
              while she was roaming in the woods.
             Then they sold her to some Italian pimps
     who tattooed the owner's brand and number on her fist.
      She says you cannot see it when she wears gloves.
        I recognized them in a small town in Belgium.
            They were sitting and watching the river
                   carry plastic bags, cans,
                 and garbage from the big city.
            She was caressing the hard shrapnel lumps
                        through his shirt
                 and he was caressing her glove.
                     I wanted to say hello
         and give them a jolly photograph from the times
               when none of us knew the meaning
                     of House and Nation.
        Then I realized that there was more meaning
                 in the language of silence
                in which they were seeing off
               the plastic bags down the river
                    than in the language
       in which I would have tried to feign those faces
                   from the old photograph
              that shows us all smiling long ago.
 

Copyright 2020 Goran Simić

Goran Simić, 68, was born in Bosnia and has published twenty volumes of poetry, ten puppet plays, two collections of stories, and three opera libretti. Poetry collections include New and Selected Sorrows, poems (Smokestack Books, Canada, 2015) and Sprinting from the Graveyard, poems (Oxford, 1997); his work has been translated into a dozen languages and published all over Europe. Simic survived the siege of Sarajevo. He emigrated to Canada in 1995. In 2006, he founded Luna Publications in Toronto, and in the same year joined the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of The University of Guelph. In 2013, Simić returned to live in Sarajevo.

2 comments on “Goran Simić: A Scene After the War

  1. Peter J. Crowley
    August 26, 2020

    Wonderful moment in emotional time thank you for sharing. peace Peter J. Crowley

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Philip Terman
    August 26, 2020

    Powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

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